15 October, 2013 – Rotorua, New Zealand

As in Auckland, I had one day to explore to explore the town of Rotorua.  Unlike my day in Auckland, this day was mostly terrible.  That’s nothing against the town, of course, but against the weather.  It rained into the afternoon, stopping around 2:30 pm, and it just made me cranky and stubborn.  Not cool.

Wisteria BridgeI slept in for the first day, getting up around 9 am (after going to bed around 8 pm the night before) and packing up for the day.  I checked out of the hotel around 10:30 am and headed out into the rain for the day.  I had all day to explore the town until tonight when I would pick up my bags from the hotel and catch an overnight bus to Wellington.  I checked out all the stores in the area, especially the two or three outdoorsy/backpacking stores.

Back story: I’ve been looking to replace my ‘good’ backpack for a while.  It’s really good quality, well made, sturdy, and large.  But all the ‘hardware’ is plastic, making those the vulnerable points.  No matter how good a backpack is, plastic is easy to snap.  Which happened to mine.  I can still use it for heavy loads, but I can’t adjust it anymore (because I had to tie the straps into a tight knot).  I’ve been looking for another good backpack, but with metal hardware.  I was in luck as the New Zealand chain ‘Macpac’ was celebrating their 40th anniversary.  To mark the occasion, they’d brought back a couple of their original/popular backpacks – with metal hardware!  Woot!  I snatched the cheaper one (still way more than I ever thought I would pay for a backpack). It was also made of good quality canvas which served to keep all my stuff much more dry in the rain than the little dollar store bag I was carrying.

Okay, back to the trip…

After my purchase, I made my way to the “Government Gardens”. This is where all the ‘good’ stuff happens.  There’s some governmental buildings, a museum, bowling green, spa, baths, etc.  It was still raining, so the smart thing to do would have been to go in the museum, or even the spa.  Both of those were on my list of things to do anyway.  Nope.  I was so miserable that I was in no mood to cheer myself up.  I continued to wander around the gardens and town and stopped in a small art gallery for a bit.  Then, near the spa, I found my favourite thing… WALKIES! It turned out to be a circular trail along part of the lake and a small geothermal area and sulphur flats.  There were signs warning “Danger! Geothermal area. Remain on the path”, and little signposts telling you were the path was.  A couple of times I wasn’t really sure where the path was and where death lay.  But it was a pretty walk, and not very rainy at that point.

Life
Life
Death
Death

After that, I was feeling much better!  The rain had stopped, the sun was out… What better time to go inside?? I did go into the museum then.  It was quite large and a very nice building.  It was once the town’s geothermal baths.  Now, the museum is dedicated to the town’s history, including the baths and the rest of the building’s history – including a swinging nightclub! – and the culture of the Maori people in the area.

After the museum, I slowly made my way back toward the hotel and walked around the lake side park and boardwalk.  I found another scenic trail that wove through town, including more geothermal areas.  I spent a good couple of house there, but then my camera battery died – the spare was in my suitcase – and I decided that enough was enough.

I headed back to the hotel to pick up my bags and head to the bus stop for the three hour wait for the bus.  My supper? M&Ms.  I really should have got to a restaurant and had, you know, a real meal and perhaps a drink or two to pass a bunch of the time. Instead, I sat on an empty bench at the closed bus stop for three hours, not even reading or working.  Actually, I was trying to nap.  That didn’t really happen either.  Between a bit of residual crankiness, and the panic from the night before about how much money I was spending on food (after, you’ll notice, only two or three days into the trip) I couldn’t bring myself to spend that munch money.  Actually, as I’d had left over snacks from the day before for my breakfast, I’d spent zero on food that day.

The bus arrived around 11:30 but it was cold and made frequent stops so I didn’t get much more than an hour or two of sleep that night.

Wrap-Up

Impressions: Throughout the day, I thought that I should have just got the bus the night before.  I would have had plenty of time to check out the main part of town and have supper before catching that late bus.  However, there was plenty to do anyway, even stuff I didn’t know about until I stumbled across them.  Had I not been so cranky, I would have had plenty of fun things to do to keep me busy through the day, such as a lake cruise, more walking, that spa, etc.

Daily Casualties: None! :)

Walked: about 9 miles

The Rest of the story:

Aurora Announces her trip!
Aurora’s Australian Pre-planning
Working with a Travel Agent
My Trip Down Under:
– Day 123 – The Journey
– Day 4 – Auckland
– Day 5 – North Island Culture
– Day 6 – Rotorua
– Day 7 – Wellington
– Day 8 – Wellington
– Day 9 & 10 – South Island Scenery
Day 11 – Queenstown
Day 12 – Middle Earth
Day 13 – The Last Day
Day 14 – Great Barrier Reef
Day 15 – Alice Springs
Day 16, 17 & 18 – The Outback
Day 19, 20 and 21 – Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road
Days 22 to 25 – Sydney and the End
Down Under Assignments

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